Thursday, August 12, 2010

Meghalaya militants to rock I-Day

This Independence Day, a militant outfit in the Northeast will sing along with "colonial New Delhi". Since it was formed in 1995, the A'chik National Volunteer Council (ANVC) had been rocking August 15 - January 26 too - with subversive operations to make a separatist statement. In a first for any extremist group in the region, it has decided to organise a rock concert to celebrate India's 63rd I-Day. The ANVC seeks self-rule for the Garo tribe dominating the western half of Meghalaya. The outfit's decision to organise 'Rock for Peace' follows a call by another Meghalaya outfit - Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council - to boycott I-Day celebrations across the State. The United Liberation Front of Asom, Revolutionary People's Front (Manipur) and other outfits have also threatened action against those to side with "colonial India" on August 15. "We will reach out through music to the people to promote peace, which this region needs," said ANVC spokesperson Torik J Marak. Several rockers and hip-hoppers in Meghalaya have been invited to participate in the concert in western Meghalaya's Tura town. The outfit also intends to give stage space to talented rebel singers with a gun-to-guitar session. Marak said since ANVC was working for the freedom of the Garos, it made no sense to curb their rights by enforcing bandh on August 15. "Political issues can be solved through peaceful dialogue. For music loving people here, concerts can be a useful tool for public mobilisation," he added. ANVC was banned in November 2000 following a series of violent attacks. It signed a ceasefire agreement with New Delhi on 23 July 2004, but like other Northeast militant groups on truce mode, it had all these years been celebrating August 14 as its Independence Day.

No proof of China supporting Maoists: Chidambaram

The government does not have any evidence of the outlawed Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) getting monetary or other support from any international agency or military organization including China. This was informed by Home Minister P. Chidambaram in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday. Amidst allegations of the Maoists rebels getting China’s support, the Government on Wednesday said it has no evidence of China lending support to Maoists. He said the government also did not have any information on Maoists receiving any support from anti-national forces. Chidambaram, however, said the government was keeping a watch and would take action with the help of friendly countries if such reports are confirmed. He said Maoists are generating funds internally through extortion and by looting banks. They are also smuggling arms through borders along Bangladesh and Myanmar. To a supplementary that Maoists carry out money laundering and even Interpol and audit firm KPMG have given estimates that it has reached large proportions, Chidambaram said those figures were exaggerated. The home minister said the Maoists get weapons smuggled through the Bangladesh and Myanmar borders. He also said that the government will look into the matter and will take action against those found guilty. The Home Minister also said there is a mechanism to monitor use of money under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act 1976. He informed the House that the Act is proposed to be replaced by a new one which will incorporate provisions for greater transparency and accountability. The regulatory mechanism would also get further strengthened. The minister said government has taken action in 100 cases where the Act was violated. There have been allegations that the Maoists are getting help from China and some other countries.

PM’s autonomy remark sparks off debate

The Prime Minister’s autonomy proposal to Jammu and Kashmir has not gone well among both the opposition parties and the organizations in the strife-torn state. While the BJP slammed the Prime Minister for his comment, the Hurriyat too has rejected the Prime Minister’s peace formula. Slamming Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's Kashmir peace formula in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday, the Bharatiya Janata Party said autonomy for the state will not be tolerated because it would mean a reversal of Kashmir's integration with India and sought an explanation. Reacting to the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh's Jammu and Kashmir's autonomy formula, senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader M Venkaiah Naidu on Wednesday said all political parties must first discuss the proposal for autonomy thoroughly. The principal Opposition party in Parliament targeted the Prime Minister to explain thoroughly the meaning of autonomy and termed the comment as unfortunate. Meanwhile, there have been mixed reactions to the Prime Minister's peace appeal for Kashmir where 52 people have been killed in violence in the last eight weeks. On Tuesday, the Prime Minister said that the Centre is ready to consider the demand for autonomy for Jammu and Kashmir if there were unanimity among political parties on the issue. He also emphasised on the need to kickstart political dialogue. He also condoled the death of many young men due to violence over the past few weeks. He also appealed to the Valley's youth to renounce violence for education and help give peace a chance. On an optimistic note, the PM also announced the formation of a six-panel committee to look at generation of more jobs in the state.

5 killed, 25 injured in Nagaland bus mishap

In a tragic incident, 5 persons were killed on the spot and 24 others were injured when a bus under the Nagaland state transport rolled down at Chetheba in Phek district early Wednesday. Five of the critically injured persons were airlifted to Kohima and Dimapur for better treatment. At least five passengers were killed and 15 others injured early Wednesday when their bus turned turtle and fell down a deep gorge near Chetheba in Nagaland's Phek district. The five persons died on the spot. The NST bus was coming from Zunehboto to Dimapur and met with the accident when negotiating a sharp turn at about 2.30 am. The injured has been admitted to Chetheba Government hospital. The ill-fated bus bearing registration number NL11-1247 started its journey at 5 PM on Tuesday. The bus had 29 passengers and 2 drivers. The dead included two women. As the mishap occurred during the night, therefore, no immediate help could be provided. But as soon as the dawn broke, local people, rescue teams from the district administration and local NGOs provide all help to the injured passengers. Nagaland Parliamentary secretary P Bako Phom, who is in charge of the transport department rushed to the spot immediately and monitored the rescue operations. Other two parliamentary secretaries Dr CK Nihose and Chopisuh Sazo also went there. Later, five critically injured passengers were airlifted to kohima and Dimapur respectively. Those airlifted to Dimapur included 3 women. Meanwhile, the Nagaland state Transport has ordered an inquiry into how the mishap occurred. Though the state government has not announced any ex-gratia so far, he administration has given Rs 15,000 to the kin of the deceased for performing the last rites.